It’s been nearly four months since Ben and I arrived in Denver. We’re both working, we’re finally out of that horrific hotel and moved into a place of own own, and yet…I still don’t feel settled.
This city isn’t yet “home.”
Ben and I agree that while neither of us regrets the decision to move here, we both have some disappointments. For Ben, it’s been his lead teacher. This program was the sole reason we relocated here, and it’s been an uphill battle for him in trying to gain this woman’s trust and respect. I have a feeling that her participation in the program was involuntary, and since she’s moving overseas at the end of this school year, has basically checked out and sees absolutely no reason to help an aspiring teacher get his career off the ground. She’s told Ben she “doesn’t like men in the classroom,” and has provided precious little positive feedback regarding his performance. After the glowing praise he received while working as a teacher’s aide in his last two assignments, I find her attitude toward him confusing. I also suppose it’s possible she just doesn’t like him (equally confusing). How can anyone not like Ben?
Okay, admittedly I’m biased.
My disappointment with Denver pretty much boils down to one thing: my commute. I have learned that I really, really hate traffic.
I know in the overall scheme of things it’s silly, and we could’ve chosen a different apartment complex somewhat closer to my work that would’ve cut out a lot this frustration, but Ben and I both liked this place more than the other options we’d looked at, and since I have a car, I wanted to give him more of a distance advantage since he’s currently relying on public transit to get to and from work and school.
In Phoenix I was spoiled. I lived and worked on the same street, and my commute was about four and a half miles each way. In Denver, it’s 11 miles each way, and it requires that I take what are undoubtedly the two worst thoroughfares in the entire city: Colorado Boulevard and Interstate 25.
To be honest, the morning commute isn’t really all that bad. Traffic moves smoothly down Colorado, and even southbound I-25 is generally easy going. Returning home in the afternoon however, is a little slice of hell. Considering the population of the Denver metro area is actually less than Phoenix, I can’t understand why the number of cars on the freeway actually reminds me more of the traffic found in the Bay Area or the outskirts of Los Angeles.
Admittedly, some days are surprisingly a breeze. I can get on the freeway at Orchard and stay at a relatively constant 65 mph until I get to Colorado Boulevard. But those days are rare; most of the time it’s a parking lot, creeping along at a speed reminiscent of the opening scene from Office Space.
Colorado Boulevard itself isn’t bad heading north until you reach 1st Avenue, at which point—without fail—traffic comes to a complete standstill. Thankfully (and I swear it’s the one thought that keeps me sane at that point) is that I know it’s only another half mile until I get home.
On a positive note, I love my job. The company wants to bring me on as a permanent, full time employee (with all the benefits), but it appears I am only about halfway through my 640 hour contract, requiring them to pay a early termination fee to the agency I work for if they want to put me on their payroll. I have no idea what that amount is, but I was speaking with the office manager on Friday and she said, “It all depends on whether we convert you in October, November, or December. In any case it’s not an outrageous amount.” Fingers crossed that it’s sooner rather than later.
Also speaking positively, I am finally warming up to the apartment. We’re still not completely put away and organized, but it’s reached the point where it’s livable and I don’t have a sense of guilt when I get home in the evening and just want to sit and watch television instead of going through the boxes that are stacked in our storage room. That’s not a task that can be put off indefinitely as a few items are missing that I’d really like to find, but for now I can live with it.
I’m also feeling a little more settled (at least psychologically) because this past Friday I decided to shell out an extra $30 a month and get a reserved parking spot in the garage. Yes, so far there always seem to be plenty of unreserved spots available, but I wanted the added assurance of knowing that after the snow starts flying there will always be a covered place for Anderson to park when I get home. (And the spot I got, right next to the stairwell, is extra wide, so no door dings!)